Real life meets the weird and wonderful world wide web

Real life meets the weird and wonderful world wide web

Real life meets the weird and wonderful world wide web

Brenna and me, because she’s the first online friend I bear hugged in Chicago

Last week I went to Story Chicago with a college friend who’s not online, to meet a whole bunch of people I only know from Twitter.

The juxtaposition was … weird.

Rebekah quickly grew used to the following exchange:

(walking into a gathering, my eyes landing on a face that looks almost familiar)

Me: “Brenna?”Β 

Blog friend: “Anne?”

Both of us: “Hiiiiiiiii!!”


Rebekah: {This is weird.}

Having my non-blogging, non-tweeting friend beside me kept me constantly aware of how these encounters weren’t exactly part of most people’s normal experiences.

I’m at the Influence Conference this weekend, and as I meet people I’ve previously known only through tweets and emails and blog comments, and reconnect with online friends I’ve only met in person once or twice, I can feel Rebekah looking over my shoulder, thinking, “The internet is weird.”

It is weird. But it’s a wonderful kind of weird, at least in the incarnations I’ve experienced it so far, and I’m grateful to have it.

Does this sound crazy to you? Do you make online friends, and have you met any of them in person?

photo via Brenna D’Ambrosio

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12 comments | Comment


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  1. Sarah says:

    I once found an amazing deal on airfare and I had vacation time to burn (this was pre-kids), so I arranged to fly to visit a blog-friend. We had read each other’s blogs for years and I wasn’t scared she was an axe-murderer or anything, but it was supremely weird to be sitting in someone’s living room that you’d only previously seen on the internet!

  2. Jessie says:

    I have made many friends via blogs and twitter. I’m a knitter and there is a huge “social knitwork” out there – it is always a thrill to meet someone in real life that you’ve gotten to know through shared interests online.

  3. Tim says:

    The only blog friend I’ve met in person is Lesley Miller when her family came to town (the live in the next city over) and spent the afternoon with us knocking around Davis. Now her husband Jonathan and I are in occasional communication, mostly on career stuff since he’s an attorney.

    But there’s an online community I’ve been part of since 2002, a lot longer than I’ve been reading blogs – The Republic of Pemberley. This Jane Austen based site provides discussion on much more than merely Austen, but she is the focus that brought us all there in the first place. It’s primarily populated by women and over the years they have made great efforts to gather from around the world (literally) once a year or so to have time together in person. A couple months ago they were coming to northern California and I asked if anyone had time for lunch near my courthouse. 17 of them showed up. Here’s a picture (see if you can pick out which one is me; hint – I’m standing next to the woman in the blue top and glasses, who happens to be the Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange).


  4. Jaimie says:

    I met one of my dear blogging friends over the summer, Elsie Callender from She and her husband stayed with us for a night on their way home from a cross-country road trip. It was a little weird to be visiting with someone I felt like I knew so well, but that I only knew via the internet. But we got along beautifully and discovered that both of us are exactly the same IRL as we are online–which was a huge relief for me! There’s a lot of people that I know via the internet that I’d love to meet in person someday. Even if I don’t, I know they’re all sisters/brothers in Christ, so I’ll meet them in heaven if I don’t here πŸ™‚

  5. Leigh Kramer says:

    Given that it’s how we met, of course I’m a fan! So many of the friends I’ve made since moving to Nashville started out as Twitter/blog friends but I’ve also met a ton of folks at conferences or weekend getaways. Many have become my nearest and dearest, with the only limitation that most of us don’t live in the same town.

  6. I love this post!
    I feel such a sense of community from my online interactions (including with you :))
    I’m looking forward to getting to meet some of these marvelous people in person, when that happens!

  7. I have only met two online friends in real life, but it was a great experience! My friends who aren’t active on the internet friendship scene don’t understand why I would want to meet anyone from the WWW, but I have had friends online for over 13 years and who have beat out real life people in terms of longevity of friendship. So there, doubters. πŸ˜‰

  8. Mandie says:

    I think it has the possibility to be awkward occassionally, but in my experience, it’s always been more rewarding than not. I have brought my best friend along to a blogger meetup in MI, and it was strange as she is only on facebook & doesn’t ‘know’ anyone she doesn’t ‘know online. πŸ™‚

  9. Faigie says:

    The truth is that I know people who got married from meeting at online dating sites. On the other hand I am married to a guy who refers to my texts to him as “non human communication”. So there are definitely both sides to every story

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